VOLUNTARY STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM
VSP Work Plan:
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An Alternative Approach
In 2011, Okanogan County opted in to the Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP). VSP is an incentive-based approach allowed under the Growth Management Act (GMA) for protecting critical areas on agricultural land. VSP has two primary objectives: protect critical areas and maintain and improve the long-term viability of agriculture.
Okanogan County stakeholders have completed a VSP Work Plan which has been approved by the State of Washington Conservation Commission. The plan outlines goals, benchmarks, and activities to accomplish the above goals. VSP is NOT a set of new regulations - its purpose is to focus and maximize voluntary incentive programs that already exist. Nobody is required to participate, and the program only applies where agricultural activities and critical areas overlap. This offers a locally driven, grassroots approach to managing interactions between critical areas and agricultural activities, rather than 'one-size-fits-all' regulation through updates to the Critical Area Ordinance.
What is a "critical area"?
Critical areas include:
fish and wildlife conservation areas
geologically hazardous areas (such as landslide zones)
critical aquifer recharge areas
frequently flooded areas
This group has completed the Work Plan. Workgroup members included representatives from the Farm Bureau, Okanogan County Cattleman’s Association, Okanogan Horticultural Association, environmental organizations, and each County Commissioner district. Staff from the Okanogan Conservation District and Okanogan County Planning Department provided support to the Workgroup throughout the VSP process.
Amy Martin, Okanogan Conservation District. (509) 422-0855 firstname.lastname@example.org
Angela Hubbard, Okanogan County Planning. (509) 422-7090 email@example.com